A person must be a victim of a qualifying crime involving physical injury, threat of physical injury or death to qualify for compensation. For certain crimes, emotional injury alone is all that needs to be sustained. Certain family members or other loved ones may also qualify.
- Victim is a California resident at the time of the crime.
- or the crime must have occurred in California.
- Nonresidents victimized in California.
- Cooperate reasonably with police and court officials to arrest and prosecute the offender (exceptions may apply).
- Cooperate with CalVCB staff.
- Not have been involved in events leading to the crime.
- Committed a crime that could be charged as a felony at the time the qualifying crime occurred.
- File the application within seven years of the crime, seven years after the direct victim turns 21 years of age, or seven years from when the crime could have been discovered, whichever is later. If an application is filed late, the applicant must complete the Late Filing Consideration form and submit it with their application.
By law, CalVCB is a payor of last resort, which means applicants are compensated for covered expenses that have not been and will not be compensated from any other source.
CalVCB provides compensation to victims of crimes who suffered injuries or threat of a physical injury that resulted in a covered pecuniary loss. CalVCB statutes define “pecuniary loss” as an economic loss or expense resulting from an injury or death to a victim of crime that has not been and will not be reimbursed from any other source. A claimant is first required to exhaust payments from other public or private sources prior to seeking compensation from CalVCB. Sources include:
- Medical/health, dental, or vision insurance
- Public benefit programs (MediCal, unemployment insurance, or Department of Rehabilitation or other disability benefits)
- Auto insurance
- Workers’ compensation benefits
- Court-ordered restitution
- Civil lawsuit recoveries
Applicants are responsible for informing CalVCB of all available reimbursement sources for their losses. If it is later determined that an applicant is not eligible due to receiving funds from any of these sources, applicants must repay CalVCB for any payments.
Direct victim – the individual who is the victim of a qualifying crime involving physical injury, threat of physical injury or death, and for certain crimes emotional injury.
Derivative victim – based on the relationship to the direct victim; an individual who sustains monetary loss because of injury or death of a victim of a qualifying crime. Can be a spouse, parent, sibling, child and grandparent.
Once an application is approved, direct victims are eligible for all program covered expenses, if applicable, whereas derivative victims are eligible for mental health, funeral/burial, support loss, wage loss (up to 30 days if minor dies or is hospitalized), medical expenses for a deceased victim, crime scene clean-up, and home security improvements (for survivor who resided with the victim at the time of the crime, for the expense of installing or increasing residential security).
Crimes covered by CalVCB include but are not limited to:
- Assault with a deadly weapon
- Battery (when there is injury or threat of injury)
- Child abuse
- Child sexual assault
- Child endangerment and abandonment
- Domestic violence
- Driving under the influence
- Elder Abuse
- Hate Crimes
- Human Trafficking
- Hit and run
- Online Harassment
- Sexual assault
- Sexual battery
- Unlawful sexual intercourse (where there is injury or threat of injury)
- Vehicular manslaughter
- Other crimes that result in physical injury or a threat of physical injury to the victim
In some instances, such as child abandonment, child abduction, or neglect, victims may be eligible for compensation based on emotional injury alone.
CalVCB may reimburse for qualifying expenses if they are necessary due to a crime and if there are no other sources of reimbursement available such as health insurance, worker’s compensation or other benefits. Caps or limits may apply. Expenses include but are not limited to:
- Medical, medical-related, dental.
- Outpatient mental health treatment or counseling.
- Funeral and burial.
- Wage or income loss up to five years following the date of the crime due to the victim’s disability resulting from the qualifying crime. If the victim is permanently disabled, wage or income loss may be extended.
- Support loss for legal dependents of a deceased or injured victim.
- Up to 30 days wage loss for the parent or legal guardian of a minor victim who is hospitalized or dies as a direct result of a crime.
- Job retraining.
- Medically necessary renovation or retrofitting of a home or vehicle for a person permanently disabled as a result of the crime.
- Home security installation or improvements
- In-patient psychiatric hospitalization costs.
- Crime scene clean-up.
- Veterinary fees, or replacement costs for a guide, signal or service dog. (GC § 13957(a)(10))
- Roundtrip mileage reimbursement to medical, dental or mental health appointments.
- Minors who suffer emotional injuries from witnessing a violent crime may be eligible for mental health counseling. To qualify, the minor witness must have been in close proximity to the crime.
Assistance is limited to the amount of out-of-pocket expenses or bills incurred by or on behalf of the victim or applicant.
For applications filed on or after January 1, 2001, the maximum amount CalVCB can reimburse a victim is $63,000. For applications filed on or after January 1, 2017, the maximum amount CalVCB can reimburse a victim is $70,000.
California law authorizes the Board to establish maximum rates and service limitations for reimbursement of medical and medical-related services, and for mental health and counseling services. In addition, for all applications submitted on or after January 1, 2003, compensation is to be based on the law in effect at the time the application was submitted. (Gov. Code §§ 13959(d), 13957.2(a)) and (Cal. Code Reg., tit. 2, § 649.23.)
- Eligible medical expenses are reimbursed:
- At the Medicare rate for services covered by Medicare.
- At 75% of the billed amount for services not covered by Medicare.
- At the Medicare rate for durable medical equipment (DME).
- At 80% for cosmetic surgery, prosthetics, hearing aids and eyeglasses.
- Eligible dental expenses are reimbursed at 75% of the amount billed or according to the Explanation of Benefits from the claimant’s insurance. Dentists can request preauthorized approval for treatment.
For a complete overview of the Board’s current rates visit our provider information page.
- Initially, an eligible victim will receive up to three mental health counseling sessions per claim.
- Providers are required to complete a Treatment Plan before the client’s fourth session.
- If the therapist determines additional treatment is necessary once a victim or derivative victim reaches the session limit, the provider must submit an Additional Treatment Plan for review. If approved, CalVCB may authorize a limited number of additional sessions.
- Persons who commit the crime.
- Persons who were involved in the events leading to the crime or committed a crime that could be charged as a felony; some exceptions may be considered.
- Persons who do not cooperate reasonably with a law enforcement agency in the apprehension and conviction of a criminal committing the crime; some exceptions may be considered.
CalVCB cannot reimburse applicants for the following expenses:
- Personal property losses, except medically necessary replacement of items, such as eyeglasses and assistive devices.
- Expenses related to the prosecution of an alleged perpetrator.
- Compensation for pain and suffering.
- Expenses submitted more than seven years after they are incurred, unless the victim is liable for the debt at the time the expense is submitted to CalVCB or has already paid the expense.
- CalVCB cannot pay any expenses incurred while a person is on parole, probation or post-release community supervision for a violent felony, or while incarcerated or required to register as a sex offender. This does not affect an application’s eligibility; however, it does stop payment for expenses that are incurred during incarceration, felon status, or as a registered sex offender.
The Good Samaritan Program reimburses persons who sustained injury or losses for certain expenses as a result of a direct action that benefited the public, such as the prevention of a crime or rescue of a person in immediate danger of injury or death.
The Missing Children Reward Program provides financial assistance to local law enforcement and other parties involved in the recovery of missing children in California. The program can provide up to $500 to apply toward rewards based on a recommendation of the California Department of Justice.